In his first press conference since being approved by the Chinese government, Hong Kong’s new health minister announced that all citizens under COVID-19 quarantine orders will need to wear tracking devices to make sure they comply with the rules.
Hong Kong health minister Lo Chung-mau stated that from July 17 onward, any of Hong Kong’s 7.8 million residents who receive a positive PCR test for COVID-19 will be required to wear an electronic bracelet to ensure they don’t leave their house, American Free Press (AFP) Hong Kong correspondent Xinqi Su reported Monday.
In the Sunday press conference, the Beijing-approved health minister suggested that Hong Kong should also adopt mainland China’s health code, which would apply a “code red” signal on individuals’ government-issued “LeaveHomeSafe” contact tracing app, preventing them from accessing any public venues.
According to Lo, the new moves are geared toward preventing COVID-19-positive people “from leaving home and entering public venues and are not designed for real-time movement tracking,” Xinqi reported.
The health minister said the government is not interested in pursuing a city-wide lockdown.
The AFP reported that the changes made to the city’s COVID-19 response will also include adding “real-name registration” to the “LeaveHomeSafe” app, despite the previous administration’s decision not to do so.
Asked about the change, Lo reportedly said it was “consistent” and that “changing a policy doesn’t mean we are in conflict with the last administration.
Lo was also asked why the Hong Kong government “has so little trust in the citizens that it puts both a bracelet and a red code on the infected persons,” Xinqi reported.
The health minister reportedly responded, “Why Hong Kong needs police and the court? Because we can never guarantee that every single citizen will fully observe the rules.”
The AFP reported that asked if the new requirements would induce people to conceal their positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) results from authorities, Lo said, “not reporting is contravening the law.”
However, Hong Kong correspondent Xinqi noted that “reporting RAT positive results to the gov remains a voluntary decision,” so it’s unclear “which law Lo was referring to.”
Lo Chung-mau became Hong Kong’s health minister last month after the ideological takeover of the city by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) last year, roughly 25 years after Great Britain handed Hong Kong’s sovereignty back to China.
China had promised to afford the major city “a high degree of autonomy.” However, the communist superstate has become increasingly aggressive in crushing pro-democracy movements and ensuring that Hong Kong falls into line with the CCP.
Newsweek pointed out that prior to becoming Hong Kong’s new health minister, Lo had “made headlines in February when he said that Hong Kong must maintain a COVID ‘zero tolerance’ policy, because living with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, would ‘get us all killed.’”
During the Sunday press conference, Lo told reporters that “by using scientific, effective and precise control measures, the maximum results can be achieved with minimum cost.”
Bloomberg noted the line is frequently employed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and appears in CCP propaganda.
In a separate interview Sunday, Lo went on to assert that “everyone agrees that those who have COVID-19 should actually not go out and harm the rest of the population,’ Newsweek reported.
“If we give COVID-19 positive people freedom and let them roam the surrounding areas, those without COVID-19 will have their freedoms affected,” he said.